Canada geese numbers and survey

Mr Carroll made this Freedom of Information request to Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council,

I am writing to make an open government request for all the information to which I am entitled under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations.

In order to assist you with this request, I am outlining my query as specifically as possible.

If however this request is too wide or too unclear, I would be grateful if you could contact me as I understand that under the act, you are required to advise and assist requesters.

(i) I am requesting a list of Sandwell sites where egg pricking of Canada goose eggs was carried out in 2015, the number of nests identified and eggs pricked at each site.
(ii) Any recorded information/evidence that you hold which confirms that Canada goose numbers have increased at sites in Sandwell's formal parks since 1997 when a policy was put in place to control numbers by Countryside rangers pricking the eggs.
(iii) Could you please supply me with a full list of the organisations that you have sent copies of the questionnaire "Canada geese management survey 2015" for both Victoria park Tipton and Dartmouth Park West Bromwich and how many copies of each you have sent to these organisations.
(iv) In February a "statement of purpose" was drawn up by the head of Neighbourhoods Adrian Scarrott concerning management of Canada geese for consultation. Can you explain why this has not been carried forward for consultation and who within the council approved the survey questionnaire? I cannot find any evidence of this on the council's website currently, so could you provide me with the minutes at the meeting where it was approved?

I understand that under the act, I should be entitled to a response
within 20 working days.
I would be grateful if you could confirm that you have received this request. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future via the what do they know website address.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Carroll

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Thank you for contacting Sandwell Council.

Your request has been passed to the relevant service area, who will contact you shortly.

Please quote your reference number INT1-719618480 on all future correspondence.

Regards

Corporate Contact Centre
Customer Services
Transform Sandwell

www.sandwell.gov.uk

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Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Sirs,

Thank you for your enquiry.

I can advise you that you will receive a response from the relevant service area within twenty working days.

Please quote your reference number 1-719807188 in the subject field on all future correspondence.

Regards

Corporate Contact Centre
Customer Services
Transform Sandwell
www.sandwell.gov.uk

[THREAD ID:1-BWFX6E]

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Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Please find attached a letter from Sandwell Council in response to your recent contact.

This letter will advise you of the timescales for response and will provide our contact details should you need to get in touch.

If you cannot open the attachment please download the FREE adobe reader that can be found at www.adobe.com
Please do not reply to this e-mail but instead use the contact details found in the letter.

Sharon Danks, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

8 Attachments

This information has been marked as: IL0: UNCLASSIFIED

Sent on Behalf of John Satchwell

 

Dear Mr Carroll

 

Please see attached response to your enquiry

Regards

 

 

Sharon Danks

Technical Support Officer

 

[1]sandwell_mbc

Sandwell Council…working for you

 

T: 0121 569 3427

F: 0121 569 4704

E: [2][email address]

   

Sandwell Council

Parks and Countryside Services

Oldbury
West Midlands
B69 3DE.

satnav post code: B69 3DB

 

Get social with Sandwell... [3]twitter [4]facebook [5]flickr [6]youtube 

[7]Parks without Social ver4

 

[8]Information Classification

 

Level 0 - Unclassified

Not protectively marked

 

Level 1  – Protect

Cause distress to individuals

Public confidence in public services and inconvenience - minor
inconvenience likely to reduce an individual's perception of service

No risk to any party’s personal safety

Minor financial loss to any party

Minor damage to any party’s standing or reputation

Cause minor distress to any party

No assistance in the commission of or hindrance to the detection of crime

 

Level 2  – Protect

Cause substantial distress to individuals

Breach proper undertakings to maintain the confidence of information
provided by third parties

Breach statutory restrictions on the disclosure of information

Cause moderate financial loss or loss of earning potential to, or
facilitate improper gain or advantage for, individuals or companies

Prejudice the investigation or facilitate the commission of crime

Disadvantage government in commercial or policy negotiations with others

 

Level 3  – Restricted

Cause significant financial loss or loss of earning potential to, or
facilitate improper gain or advantage for, individuals or companies
(Depending on severity as to whether PROTECT or not).

Prejudice the investigation or facilitate the commission of crime
(Depending on severity as to whether PROTECT or not)

Disadvantage government in commercial or policy negotiations with others
(Depending on severity as to whether PROTECT or not).

Impeded the effective development or operation of government policies.

Undermine the proper management of the public sector and its operations.

 

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Dear Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Canada geese numbers and survey'.

I thank you for providing figures regards egg pricking totals for 2015 and the survey response information. I am however seeking clarification from you concerning the answers to the two other questions.
(ii) Any recorded information/evidence that you hold which confirms that Canada goose numbers have increased at sites in Sandwell's formal parks since 1997 when a policy was put in place to control numbers by Countryside rangers pricking the eggs.

For clarity I was referring to adult geese on formal parks which you claim have increased in Sandwell since a policy was drawn up in 1997. I am therefore asking you if you hold any recorded information which confirms that adult goose numbers have increased on the formal park sites. To provide this information you would need to have undertaken counts since 1997. If not you cannot claim an increase in numbers has taken place without this key evidence.
You provided me with an egg pricking total from sites in 2013/14 and have previously stated in another FOI request that no figures of egg pricking were available before 2013 when the countryside rangers were supposedly pricking eggs. Can you therefore confirm if you have any recorded counts of adult birds on the formal parks- specifically Victoria Park Tipton and Dartmouth Park West Bromwich, given that your council also claims to have been eliminating goose numbers by egg pricking since 1997? If you have no recorded figures for adult goose counts can you please state that this is the case.

(iv) In February a "statement of purpose" was drawn up by the head of Neighbourhoods Adrian Scarrott concerning management of Canada geese for consultation. Can you explain why this has not been carried forward for consultation and who within the council approved the survey questionnaire? I cannot find any evidence of this on the council's website currently, so could you provide me with the minutes at the meeting where it was approved?

In the letter I was sent by John Satchwell of 22nd September this stated that the statement of purpose, which differed from the original "statement of purpose" draft in February , was the current council policy regarding the management of Canada geese. BUT THIS IS NOT THE CURRENT COUNCIL POLICY AT ALL, because Adrian Scarrott Head of Neighbourhoods recently sent me the minute of the 1997 Leisure meeting where another policy, which has not been rescinded, was approved.

http://www.saveoursandwellcanadageese.or...

Unless this "statement of purpose" has been approved by some formal process it cannot be council policy. To form a new policy you would have had to consult, but this has not taken place until now with regard to that document, even though council minutes claimed that the document would be subject to consultation BEFORE being approved.
Also from the original draft statement of purpose a key paragraph has been omitted in the rewritten version sent to me by John Satchwell

https://cmis.sandwell.gov.uk/Cmis5/Docum...

"Wild Waterfowl
Whilst The Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) makes it an offence to capture, kill or  injure any wild bird, or to damage or take their nests or eggs, there are exceptions to  this act. Therefore, should non‐lethal control methods be ineffective or  impracticable, the Council may consider implementing lethal methods of control.  Any such control would take place subject to the conditions of a general licence or, if  required, subject to the conditions of an individual licence obtained from Natural  England.  "

I am therefore seeking confirmation as to the status of the council's current policy on the management of Canada geese, given that question 7 of the questionnaire is extremely unclear and misleading when considering the circumstances of how this "policy" arrived at being so. Are you stating that the re-written "statement of purpose " was once again verbally waived through by a councillor without being formally consulted on beforehand and without any formal record being made of it being changed?

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Mr Carroll

Dear Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council,
I am writing to remind you of a request for an internal review of my Freedom of Information request which I made on 1st October. I have not as yet received an acknowledge from you and 20 working days has now elapsed.
Could I therefore request that you conduct this review in line with ICO guidance and acknowledge when the review will be completed.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Mr Carroll

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Thank you for contacting Sandwell Council.

Your request has been passed to the relevant service area, who will contact you shortly.

Please quote your reference number INT1-724453395 on all future correspondence.

Regards

Corporate Contact Centre
Customer Services
Transform Sandwell

www.sandwell.gov.uk

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Info Management, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

This information has been marked as: IL0: UNCLASSIFIED

Good Morning Mr Carroll

 

Following on from your call this morning we have looked into what has
happened with your request for a review and can confirm that there appears
to have been a technical issue with the email containing your request for
a review from Whatdotheyknow.com which led to the system not recognising
it and therefore it was not logged.

 

Your email chase in November was mistaken as a chase for a response to
your original request and forwarded to the responding officer who then
confirmed that they had responded, therefore nothing more was done. Please
accept our sincere apologies for what has happened to your request for a
review, there appears to have been several issues in this instance that
will be picked up with the relevant officers in order to ensure this
doesn’t happen again.  

 

We have retrieved the wording for your request for a review directly from
Whatdotheyknow.com and will begin to undertake a review immediately. We
endeavour to have a response out to you as soon as possible, at the latest
by the end of Tuesday 22^nd December.

 

Kind Regards

Information Managament Unit

 

[1]Legal & Governance Services col

 

Sandwell Council

Oldbury

West Midlands

B69 3DE

W: [2]www.sandwell.gov.uk

E: [3][email address]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anouk Wendling, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

This information has been marked as: IL1: PROTECT

 

 

Dear Mr Carroll,

 

 

Thank you for your e-mail dated 8th of November and asking for an internal
review of your Freedom of Information request regarding 'Canada geese
numbers and survey'. I am aware that the reason for the delay in
responding to your request was explained to you already, but would like to
take this opportunity to apologise again for any inconvenience caused.

 

Your request for a review asked:

 

1.            Whether the Council holds any recorded information which
confirms that adult goose numbers have increased on the formal park sites,
as well as confirmation of whether the Council has any recorded counts of
adult birds on the formal parks- specifically Victoria Park Tipton and
Dartmouth Park West Bromwich.

 

I can confirm that in 2013, the Wardens undertook a visual count of all
venues where Canada Geese were present and, in total, over 700 were
identified. However, no recorded information is held.

With regards to numbers within formal Parks, Dartmouth Park and Victoria
Park were identified as having the largest populations of Canada Geese
within the Borough, the visual count identified over 300 adult Geese. 

 

2.            Confirmation as to the status of the Council's current
policy on the management of Canada geese, given that question 7 of the
questionnaire is extremely unclear and misleading when considering the
circumstances of how this "policy" arrived at being so. Are you stating
that the re-written "statement of purpose" was once again verbally waived
through by a councillor without being formally consulted on beforehand and
without any formal record being made of it being changed?

 

The Statement of Purpose is not a policy document, but a document that
explains in more detail the reason the Council chooses to manage numbers
within its formal Town Parks.  The statement of purpose was amended
following direction from our Cabinet member, Cllr Crompton and amendments
were made as instructed.

 

The policy on controlling goose numbers was determined in 1997 and I
understand you already have a copy of this.

 

I hope this satisfactorily answers your query. However, if you are not
content with the outcome of an internal review, you have the right to
apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The
Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

 

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

 

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

The Information Management Unit        

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

 

[1]sandwell_mbc

Sandwell Council...working for you

 

Sandwell Council

Oldbury

West Midlands

B69 3DE

W: [2]www.sandwell.gov.uk

E: [3][email address]

 

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